I knew it was wrong. I grappled with my choice. But in the end, my allegiance was wrong.
Many years ago while attending college I auditioned to be in a play. Since the play was a comedy, I had high hopes of being cast. I had discovered some time earlier that the only sound sweeter than applause was applause mixed with laughter.
I was elated when the director cast me as one of the leads but I soon found myself in a quandary.
My character was an overbearing boss with a type-A personality. That was not the problem. The problem was that at one point in the dialogue, my character, in a fit of anger, had to take the Lord’s name in vain.
This may seem a trivial thing. But it went directly against a lifetime of being taught that there are some things that should not be said lightly. I knew there would be many of my family and neighbors attending the play and that they would find this particular line offensive.
It was just one line in an undeniably hilarious play. But it was testing my resolve to live up to my understanding of right and wrong.
I pleaded with my director to let me change or skip the line, but he refused. My choice eventually came down to either staying in the play and delivering the line as written or walking away from my role.
It was a test that I failed. In the end, I stayed in the play, delivered my line, and accepted the accolades of the audience.
In shame, I realized that my allegiance to their approval had proven stronger than my allegiance to my Creator. I allowed the consensus of the collective to trump my conscience.
As with most failures, this served as a powerful learning experience. The shame I felt over my failure to live up to my standards eventually became resolve to stand strong even if it came at personal expense.
There are many conflicting things competing for our allegiance daily. Our greatest challenge is choosing those that are worthy of it.
We can give our allegiance to God, family, country, culture, consumerism, self, or any number of other contenders.
The question that each of us must answer is where our highest and truest allegiance is found. A strong indicator of our allegiance can be seen in how we spend our time and who our peers are.
Currently there is a powerful demand for allegiance to government and to society. But what are we to do when these things cease to deserve our support?
More and more of us are finding it difficult to keep giving our allegiance to institutions that treat us like potential enemies and seek to control us at every turn.
When confronted with the knowledge that the agency he was working for was violating the trust of the American people, Snowden’s allegiance was put to the test.
Thankfully, he recognized that his allegiance to the American public, the Constitution, and the cause of liberty were stronger than his oath of secrecy to the agencies that were betraying them.
What angers Snowden’s most bitter critics is the fact that he allowed his individual conscience to come before the consensus of the collective.
This is a choice that all of us will have to make eventually. Why should we give our allegiance to those who seek dominion over us?
Fred Reed describes it like this:
“Freedom withers, not only in the ominous encroachment of police powers, but in the loss of control over schools, church, hiring, daily life. We are no longer our own. The United States is not the country we are told it is, and not the country it was.”
Sometimes following our truest and highest allegiance will require us to engage in morally distancing ourselves from society or government. This can be very difficult as the collective views such actions as treasonous.
Just remember that ultimately, it is our conscience that we must be at peace with, not the crowd.
Bryan Hyde is a husband, father, disciple, teacher, guardian, reader, writer, truth seeker, stirrer of pots, radio talk show host, and PITA to those who seek dominion over others. He’s also a proud member of the Pro-Freedom Conspiracy.
He does professional voice work through his company One Clear Voice. He is also a frequent and popular contributor to St. George News.
Bryan and his wife Becky are raising their six children in Cedar City, Utah.
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